4 Benefits (Yes, Benefits!) From Having Anxiety

As far as I can remember, I started noticing symptoms of anxiety when I started having skin trouble. It was the catalyst to a dark, scary place in my mind.

Since then, I’ve spent most of my 20’s trying to combat my (admittedly mild) anxiety so that it doesn’t overtake me on a daily basis. Here are 4 things I’ve learned were actually benefits.

1. It’s connected me to other people almost immediately

I’ve gotten a lot of comments about the post I wrote about being a Highly Sensitive Person. Almost immediately, friends and friends of friends came out of the woodwork to say, “Oh my god! I’m highly sensitive!”

How amazing. An immediate community built.

Not only that, but I can smell anxiety on others almost immediately. The benefit? I can take a second to understand them that much better, take steps to (hopefully) help them cope, and simply be empathetic to their situation.

2. It’s forced me to learn about myself

The other night I had a wonderful conversation with a friend about how anxiety has shaped us into the people we are now. The ride it’s taken me on has been glorious at times and bumpy at times, but it’s all been worth it.

I equate the journey to something like going on job interviews or dating: you very quickly learn about yourself. You’re able to describe yourself. And you’re able to then work on yourself.

3. You appreciate high-highs thanks to low-lows

I have plenty of friends who are pretty even keel. They don’t let things affect them – for better or worse – on a regular basis. And while I’m often envious of this trait, I wouldn’t trade the low-lows I sometimes feel for the high-highs. (And if you have anxiety or depression, you know exactly what I’m talking about.)

Sometimes experiencing life on a roller coaster of emotions is completely overwhelming. Sometimes it’s exhilarating. Either way, you learn to appreciate the ride.

4. You learn to body scan and self soothe

Finding ways to cope is one of the best things I’ve ever done. For me personally, it took seeing a therapist for about six months to learn ways to deal with my mild anxiety. I learned things like self acupuncture (using your knuckles in a beating motion on certain parts of your body), body scanning (taking a moment to identify where/why you’re feeling anxious), how meditation and exercise help, etc.

These skills not only helped with anxiety, but I like to think they made me feel like an overall better and more “complete” human being.

The list really keeps on going, but these are just 4 benefits I’ve gotten from anxiety.

If you have anxiety – or even if you don’t – what are some of the things you’ve learned or benefits you’ve had?